Does this harmonize?

kickingtone

New member
Hi!

Obviously not a clean recording by any stretch of the imagination, but it's only for practice.

I'm kind of guessing, so can someone with a good ear for harmony tell me if this harmonizes and if the voices are balanced? Thanks!

I may listen to this tomorrow and find it a complete mess. That sometimes happens -- sounds ok to me one day, a mess the next!



 
Hi there,
Without some backing chords for reference it's impossible to tell but the parts you're singing work with themselves.

You may be a little flat or sharp here and there, but most people would be without some fleshed out reference point.


Everybody gets that, where something sounds good then sucks the next day.
It's good to work in short sessions and take breaks regularly. Our ears are incredible at adapting which can be a great asset, but it sucks if you want to mix for an hour. ;)
 

kickingtone

New member
I think it does and if it is just for practice, it sounds great! I would love to hear the finished song.

Thanks, Mack!

Last time I tried something like this was a couple of years ago. It was one royal mess and I flat gave up. I am really glad I have made progress.

I'm hoping to be ready to attempt full covers in a year or so.
 

kickingtone

New member
Hi there,
Without some backing chords for reference it's impossible to tell but the parts you're singing work with themselves.

You may be a little flat or sharp here and there, but most people would be without some fleshed out reference point.

Hi, thanks for listening and for your advice.

So far, it's always been a cappella with no reference backing instrumentals, and I just start at a random pitch, which is generally between notes. I think that has many advantages when learning vocals. Of course the obvious downside is that you don't get to practice matching absolute pitch of tuned instruments. You only learn relative pitch. But somewhere I do have my one and only clip of me singing with a backing track. One reason I did it is to make sure that it wasn't going to be a major problem when I am ready to do covers.


Everybody gets that, where something sounds good then sucks the next day.
It's good to work in short sessions and take breaks regularly. Our ears are incredible at adapting which can be a great asset, but it sucks if you want to mix for an hour. ;)

Yeah, I figured out this adaptation thing was going on! (I even made a thread about it somewhere). I find I have to shake my head free and come back and listen with "fresh" ears.

The other problem I sometimes have is with vocals that have no gentle lead in. It's the opposite effect. You need the momentary "adaptation". "Fresh" ears take time to pick up the key and melody. So the first bar or so can sound like a mess. So, when I deliberately take a long break and come back, that effect kicks in, first time listening.

At first, I couldn't tell if it was my vocals or my ears adjusting, until the same thing happened when I was in a large hardware store. When I moved to a different section of the store, they were playing different background music. For a couple of seconds, it sounded way off key, until my ears adjusted from the sudden change from the previous song. I find with my own vocals it is probably a bit of both, if there is no lead in (the vocals may be adjusting, slightly too, as they reify what's in my head.)
 

cakewalkKaKed

HOORAY FOR BOOBIES !!!
Does this harmonize? = nope,the example uses the wrong scale to your note choices .. your hardware/software will have an option for tuning to a preset scale ... pick the right one and off you go ...

better imo to use the hardware/software as a guide/writing tool,then record you singing the parts the machine came up with (editing human timing variations is always far less noticeable than precise machine doubling) ... human doubling imo is the only way to go ... btw its the slight imperfections in timing/pitch that give a human vocal its massive sound (that and some sneaky FX processing)
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
Does this harmonize? = nope,the example uses the wrong scale to your note choices .. your hardware/software will have an option for tuning to a preset scale ... pick the right one and off you go ...

better imo to use the hardware/software as a guide/writing tool,then record you singing the parts the machine came up with (editing human timing variations is always far less noticeable than precise machine doubling) ... human doubling imo is the only way to go ... btw its the slight imperfections in timing/pitch that give a human vocal its massive sound (that and some sneaky FX processing)

I think what Steen was saying is that, without a backing track or accompanying instruments, who knows what harmony he has in mind? He could be hearing chords that match with the notes he's singing. Since he's doing it a capella, we have no way of knowing what was intended.

It basically sounds as though he's moving between a I and ii chord --- although in the very beginning the ii chord sounded like a IV chord because the third (lowest) voice hadn't entered yet. And a few of the connecting notes between the target chord tones sound a little suspect, but I'm attesting that to the pitchiness that Steen mentioned.

The final chord on "tonight" is really the only serious outlier in my opinion. It's either very out of tune or he's hearing a very unorthodox resolution. I suspect that it's supposed to be the tonic chord, and he just drifted pretty far out of tune for it.

Again, that's the issue with singing to no reference at all. At the very least, get a pitch pipe or something so you can check your pitch before and after. I don't mean to be rude, but your pitch is obviously not strong enough to rely on without a reference. It will improve though if you do check it against a reference.

Singing a capella is not easy at all. That's one of the reasons why you so rarely hear it done really well.
 

cakewalkKaKed

HOORAY FOR BOOBIES !!!
I think what Steen was saying is that, without a backing track or accompanying instruments, who knows what harmony he has in mind? He could be hearing chords that match with the notes he's singing. Since he's doing it a capella, we have no way of knowing what was intended.

:D ... maybe .. but its out with itself .. i don't usually read other replies here cos threads turn into car crashes pretty quick .. from memory i think his harmony issue is choosing minor or major 3rd,not both :)
 
I think what Steen was saying is that, without a backing track or accompanying instruments, who knows what harmony he has in mind? He could be hearing chords that match with the notes he's singing. Since he's doing it a capella, we have no way of knowing what was intended.

That's about the height of it.
Sure, the pitch in general isn't exactly 100% on point but I don't think there's ambiguity about what notes the guy is trying to sing.
Generally, people singing without accompaniment tend to drift lower and lower over time. It just is what it is.
Trying to layer on top of that can get out of hand very quickly, so I've put a dose of benefit of the doubt into my opinion of the singer.

You mentioned the last chord - I originally posted that his highest part was a tone too high (I-II-VI) assuming he'd end on a major chord, then realised he could be ending on a minor chord on purpose and edited it out.

OP, I agree the pitch probably isn't strong enough to make this 'your thing', at least not without more practice and work but hey...that's what you're doing! :)
I think I'd set aside any reasons you have not to sing to a reference and just do it.
If for no other reason that the feedback you get on it will be meaningful. :p
 

kickingtone

New member
I think I'd set aside any reasons you have not to sing to a reference and just do it.
If for no other reason that the feedback you get on it will be meaningful. :p

Yep. Seems very sensible. I can practice each way, but post something standard next time.

Thanks folks.

The exercise I was doing morphed into more than what I had originally intended. I sang one track (and my pitch consistency is + or - 2Hz, btw, which I checked with software), then I wondered what would happen if I were to sing over it.

I know from trying this two years ago that if you don't maintain some kind of pitch relationship between the recordings, it sounds a lot worse than odd or incomplete chords.

So I just listened to, and remembered the first recording. Then, without listening to it again, I sang over it. (That became the idea of the practice) The second recording has lower sections, but coincides with the first at the beginning. So it sounds as if it comes in late, but it doesn't. Then I added the third higher vocal the same way (it is slightly sharp, but no so much as to have no bearing on the other two).

So, I didn't plan anything standard. (Yes, the "here tonight" sounds strange, but I can listen to it and "acclimatize"! :D )

Now, I have to find something with the chords worked out for me...

Oh..I still have the recording after the second layer..

 
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Both sound OK to me. When someone says "practice" I look past the small variances in pitch and rhythm. That's what practice is for...it's not a finished product. If you had said these were finished vocal tracks, I would have thought differently. And if this is your first time singing, or first time attempting harmonies, both can be strange at first. The more you sing, or the more you sing harmonies, the easier it will to hear the correct note. Some people can hear harmonies and have no problem finding the correct note. Others have to break out the theory books and find the correct harmony note that way. Either way, practice is still a necessary part of the process.
 

Nola

Active member
Anything can harmonize. I mean Hungarians use like a m2 interval in their scales and Indians use microtones.

In terms of Western music, yeah it kinda does harmonize when you aren't flat. There are a few parts you're a bit flat, and they ruin the flow of what we expect in the West.
 

kickingtone

New member
Anything can harmonize. I mean Hungarians use like a m2 interval in their scales and Indians use microtones.

A very interesting point, but I don't think it means that anything can harmonize. For example, you can sing your Indian microtones perfectly alongside your Western scales, and it won't harmonize. For harmony, you need some overlap in the harmonics of simultaneous notes. It is very noticeable when that doesn't happen, just like two instrument that are not in relative tune.

I would say that most of the music I listen to is non-Western, so, good call.

I am quite weary of heavily practising Western scales. I have come across some people who can't appreciate non-Western music because their practice has tuned it out, and they start to expect the wrong note (wrong according to the native music).


In terms of Western music, yeah it kinda does harmonize when you aren't flat. There are a few parts you're a bit flat, and they ruin the flow of what we expect in the West.

Can you pick an example from the middle of the clip? (Second clip is clearer).
 

famous beagle

Well-known member
This is the first time I've listened to the second clip, and it's quite different. It harmonizes well.

This makes it clear that the top part was the trouble maker and was the one that was flat a lot.
 
Hi,
Not really, I'm afraid.
The first harmony that you introduce ends a tone higher than I think it should - You end on 7th of the scale rather than 6th (chord IV - 4-6-8).
I guess there's no right or wrong, but there's sounds-wrong. ;)

That's a little awkward to sing so I'd change the first note (of this first harmony) to a V of the song key, meaning that the first interval this harmony sings is a perfect 4th upwards.
V(vid)-VIII(e-o-kills-the-rad)-II(i)-VI(o-star) - Does that make sense?

Maybe that's just me - That 'feels' right to sing that.

I don't know what they did on the real recording, btw - I'm just saying what sounds/feels right and is conventional.

After that I lose track but I know I'm not digging it. :p


Heh..Sorry man, no point just saying "yeah, sounds great!"
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
First one bad, second good (but just two different notes) and the third horrible. BUT - this is based on traditional western harmony, which is rule bound. Rules developed over hundreds of year from the days of chanting Monks through to Barbershop harmony in the US - pretty much a set of rules which you MUST follow, unless you invent a new one of your own that works. Personally - you need to ALWAYS sing in a proper key. If like many guitarists before tuners became popular, you just picked your own E and tuned the guitar from it, you had a kind of fingerprint - but it stayed the same. With your random starting point, you tend to drift from the real key into a similar one, and that to many people is like fingernails on a blackboard.

When you stick in random notes you kind of invent a new chord - which of course is never new, just a 13th with a flattened something - and sometimes wonderful but usually not. If you do some research into harmony and arrangement you'll find all kinds of these rules - have a listen to this youtube video YouTube there's a rule about parallel fifths and try tp sing in the part - it's really awkward and oddly simple. The rule is you don't break the rule, unless you can do it well! Most times - just don't break the rules, because all genres of music tend to use them. If you don't unless yours is exceptional, it won't work.
 

kickingtone

New member
Hmm...thanks Steenamaroo and Rob..

I definitely need to study the theory behind this stuff.

It's clear to me that I know next to NOTHING about standard chords.

For example, that second line coming in "a tone higher than it should", my ears wouldn't know which was standard and which was not. That's a problem, obviously, because, in a lot of contexts, "not standard" means wrong.

I want to learn the standard, but the one thing that worries me is that I don't want non standard stuff to start sounding wrong to my ears. I want to enjoy both. I hope I can manage that. Or maybe it'll be like wine. Once you get a taste for the vintage stuff..

If I sing to a script I'll be OK, but I want to write music some day!
 

kickingtone

New member
Hi,
Not really, I'm afraid.
The first harmony that you introduce ends a tone higher than I think it should - You end on 7th of the scale rather than 6th (chord IV - 4-6-8).
I guess there's no right or wrong, but there's sounds-wrong. ;)

That's a little awkward to sing so I'd change the first note (of this first harmony) to a V of the song key, meaning that the first interval this harmony sings is a perfect 4th upwards.
V(vid)-VIII(e-o-kills-the-rad)-II(i)-VI(o-star) - Does that make sense?

Nope. But I'll come back to it, once I've studied the subject a bit.
 

kickingtone

New member
First one bad, second good (but just two different notes) and the third horrible. BUT - this is based on traditional western harmony, which is rule bound.

Ha ha! Figures! The second one was the only one I didn't make up on the fly. I used actual parts from the song.

What it is, is that my ears simply have no idea of western standard, which makes sense because a lot of the music I listen to isn't western. It could be worse than that of course, and I am not appreciating harmony at any level.

[Thanks for the video. You're absolutely right -- I just paralleled it, and the video gives me an insight into why this is unnatural. I couldn't sing along the parts they gave.]

But for sure, what sounds ghastly to one person can sound ok to another. I remember a load of traditional Mexican music I was given. It sounded way flat. But then I keyed into it after a few months, and actually liked it. On there was a version of La Bamba, probably more authentic but nothing like the rock version. I had to get the rock version out of my head before the Mexican version worked for me. Then I gradually found that I liked a few more tracks. It took me a good while to be able to sing along to them, too. So, I knew that something was fundamentally different, although, to this day, I couldn't specify any detail.
 
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